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The History of the Barfly


The term ‘barfly’ dates back to at least the early 1900s and originally referred to a person who spent a lot of time drinking and socializing in bars. The term ‘fly’ was a common slang term for a person, and ‘bar’ referred to the establishment where they would spend their time.


The term gained popularity in the 1920s during Prohibition in the United States when many people turned to illegal speakeasies to obtain alcohol. At the time, being a barfly was seen as a rebellious and daring lifestyle, and many writers and artists romanticized the idea in their works.


During the 1940s and 1950s, the term became associated with the beat generation of writers and artists who frequented bars and cafes in search of inspiration and camaraderie. The term continued to be used in popular culture throughout the 20th century, appearing in movies, TV shows, and books.


Today, the term ‘barfly’ is still used to describe someone who spends a lot of time in bars and is often associated with heavy drinking and a lack of direction in life. However, it is also sometimes used more lightheartedly to describe someone who enjoys socializing in bars as a hobby or pastime.


There have been many famous people throughout history who have been known for their frequenting bars and drinking establishments. Some names that may resonate are:

  1. Ernest Hemingway - The famous American writer was known for his love of drinking and socializing in bars. Many of his stories and novels feature characters who spend time in bars and cafes.

  2. Charles Bukowski - The American poet and novelist was famous for his heavy drinking and his stories and poems about the seedy world of bars and drinking.

  3. Dylan Thomas - The Welsh poet was known for his love of drinking and would often spend long hours in pubs and bars, sometimes reciting his poetry for the patrons.

  4. Dorothy Parker - The American writer and wit was a regular at the Algonquin Hotel in New York, where she would spend hours drinking and socializing with other writers and intellectuals.

  5. Hunter S. Thompson - The American journalist and writer was known for his wild lifestyle, which included heavy drinking and drug use. He often wrote about his experiences in bars and other drinking establishments.

It's worth noting that while these individuals were known for their love of drinking and socializing in bars, their contributions to literature, journalism, and other fields are what ultimately made them famous.

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